"Yoga and Writing are Soulmates." ~ Stephanie Rénee dos Santos
"Writing Women Back into History." ~ Mary Sharratt
Yoga reveals insights; Writing records. Yoga balances breath; Writing surfs oceans of language. Yoga taps the unconscious; Writing transcribes wisdom within. Writing requires presence; Yoga is the assistant. Writing is a world offering; Yoga cull forth the gift. Writing is a solo act; Yoga provides community.
Yoga relieves body and mind tension; when the body is at ease, so become constrictions of the mind and creative spirit -- opening space for your writing to: flow, seep and burst forth. In this yoga and writing workshop we will stretch our body and stoke our creative fire, practicing with ancient yogic goddess wisdom focused on Devi Saraswati. We will learn how to align and invoke Saraswati, goddess of writing, to support our creative effort. We'll open to and energize our being to invite the muse to awaken within for our creative writing to naturally unfold.
This workshop is open to everyone: fiction writers, memoir, non-fiction, poets, journalists, those that journal, and other storytellers and creative artists of all sorts and levels of experience. The workshop explores and combines Hatha Yoga (postures), mantra (sounds), the cakras (energetic centers), mudra (hand/body gestures), Yoga Nidra (guided meditation), wisdom mythology, writing exercises, exploration of women mystic throughout history, small-group interaction and sharing, encouraging antidotes and practical yoga-writer wisdom.
The yoga practices in this workshop will spark your creative muse, liberating your authentic voice and deepest truths while we attune to the five elements of yoga and their power to empower creative writing. When we focus on the five elements within and align with a yogic goddess of creativity we open ourselves to a well-spring of inspiration and tap into its unlimited potential.
Materials to have on-hand and wear:
1. Pen and writing journal and laptop.
2. A piece of writing you would like to work on, if you have one. But not necessary! You can begin a new work in the workshop too.
3. Colored pencils and/or colored pens.
4. (2) 8 x11 card stock white paper + access to a printer
5. Wear comfortable clothes you can move in without restrictions.
6. Yoga mat or towel can pass in a pinch too. Optional: 2 yoga blocks and cord.
Saturday & Sunday (Pacific Standard Time/PST)
9:00-10:30 Saraswati Yoga + Guided meditation (w/Stephanie)
10:45-12:15 SHEStories (w/Mary)
12:15-12:30 Discussion + Closing for day
Mary Sharratt is the acclaimed author of eight novels including Daughters of the Witching Hill, Illuminations, Ecstasy, and Revelations, which will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April 2021. Mary is on a mission to write women back into history. She's been featured on NPR, winner of the 2013 Nautilus Gold Award, the 2005 WILLA Literary Award, and co-edited the subversive fiction anthology BITCH LIT, which celebrates female anti-heroes–strong women who break all the rules. She has taught creative writing at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her essays have been published in The Wall Street Journal, Enchanted Living, Huffington Post, Lithub, Catapult, and elsewhere, and she blogs monthly for Feminism & Religion. Visit her website: www.marysharratt.com.
Stephanie Rénee dos Santos is a Yogini artist/writer steeped in the nondual Tantric sacred feminine wisdom traditions (Trika/Sri Vidya). She guides goddess-inspired hatha yoga, meditation, and Yogini arts. Yearly, she leads women's yoga groups into the wilds of the mountains and goddess pilgrimages in the USA, India and Nepal. She is part of the forthcoming women's anthology When She Wakes, women's firsthand accounts of Kundalini awakening, historical novel Cut From The Earth (Semi-Finalist International Chaucer Awards), and contributor to Yoga Magazine, Lalitamba, American Athenaeum and Historical Novel Review. Visit her website: www.mountainshakti.com.
Praise for Mary Sharratt:
“Historical fiction at its finest, an absorbing tale sparkling with authentic nuggets on every page, whether musical, sartorial, architectural, or political. And it brings an important female composer to light who has not received the attention she is due.”
~NPR for Ecstasy
“An absorbing bildungs-roman that grapples with strikingly contemporary issues of gender and religious identification, definitions, and discrimination.”
~New York Times Book Review for The Dark Lady’s Mask
“Who wouldn’t want to read about a ballsy 12th century nun whose divine visions could make the most powerful, evil monk shiver in his tunic?”
~People Magazine for Illuminations
“Sharratt crafts her complex yet credible account by seamlessly blending historical fact, modern psychology, and vivid evocations of the daily life of the poor whose only hope of empowerment lay in the black arts. Set in forests and towers, farms and villages, deep in a dungeon and on the gallows, this novel grows darker as it approaches its inevitable conclusion, but proves uplifting in its portrayal of women who persevere, and mothers and daughters who forgive.”
~Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review for Daughters of the Witching Hill
Praise for Stephanie dos Santos:
“‘Yoga for Writers’ was a great way to start the day! Stephanie led us through stretches I’m sure were designed to open up shoulders and backs that have been hunched over keyboards for too long. It was lovely to breathe deeply and take the time to get in touch with the present moment before the demands of a busy conference…Thanks for a great session.”
~ Deborah Swift London, England author of A Divided Inheritance, The Lady’s Slipper, The Gilded Lady
“It was totally heaven to take an out-of-doors yoga class with Stephanie at our novelists’ conference [the Historical Novel Society Conference in St. Petersburg, FL]. At 7:00 am it was still cool in Florida, and the gentle stretches were accompanied by the rustle of leaves and the chirping of birds. Stephanie is a gentle, inspired, gracious teacher. I felt utterly blessed!”
~Stephanie Cowell New York City, NY author of Claude & Camille, Marrying Mozart, The Players: A Novel of Young Shakespeare, Nicolas Cooke
“I’ve dabbled in yoga for many years, but never connected it to my writing practice before. I signed up for this workshop hoping to work through a bit of writer’s block on my novel. We met on the labyrinth at Fairhaven Park, a perfect setting for outdoor yoga. After an hour of poses targeting our hips, back, neck and shoulders, opening ourselves to creativity and culminating in Tibetan meditation, we sat down to write. Stephanie guided us through writing prompts focusing our attention on the natural world. The yoga gave my writing an awareness of my physical surroundings that I sometimes neglect. We returned to our mats for a few more vinyasas before a final writing exercise to bring it all together. I was quite surprised to find that the stream of consciousness observations from the earlier prompts fit perfectly into my novel, and I wrote a short scene that I didn’t even know my story needed. I intend to use the poses I learned from Stephanie in my future yoga and writing practice, and I hope to work with her again.”
~Kari Neumeyer Bellingham, WA author of the dog memoir, Bark and Lunge: The Isis Story, and novel-in-progress, Fight Like a Lady
“This three hour workshop was dense with knowledge–both mystical and practical–utilizing the ancient principles of mind and body–focused around ‘how to build a better, more complete writer.’ The instructor, Stephanie Renee dos Santos, demonstrated a confidence and understanding of the journey through the means and methods of how she facilitated the yoga and supported the writing. Each individual felt valued no matter their level of experience or ‘expertise.’ Binding our work with Tibetan Yoga and sensory writing was a heartfelt conviction and compassion. Having taken heaps of writing workshops and yoga classes–along with my MFA in Creative Writing, my only wish was that this workshop was longer, and that I would’ve been able to attend the second day.”
~J.R. Gill Bellingham, WA writer and Writing Instructor
1. Who are writing & yoga workshops designed for? The yoga classes at the workshops are for anyone who writes: novelist, poet, blogger, memoir, non-fiction, journal writing, journalist, essayist, screen writers, playwrights, anyone who writes or wants to write.
2. What if I am new to yoga? Or an advanced yogin? Yoga for beginners and the seasoned, flow yoga to yoga therapy, each workshop is designed to meet the needs of everyone, making adjustments to poses as needed for you.
3. What areas of the body does the yoga focus on? The hips, lower back, shoulders, fingers/feet, eyes and neck. The hip and lower back region often becomes locked when sitting in a chair for long periods of time. Typing all day and holding one’s body in a position of intent concentration in front of the computer, many people develop pain, soreness, and rigidity in the shoulder and scapula region. We will work to open all mentioned regions to generate blood circulation and to ease tension.
4. What if I am new to writing? Great! No problem. What is important is to first hear the inner voice and allow it to come forth and be explored. This workshop is the perfect opportunity to do just this. You will learn ways to channel and unleash and support that voice!
5. How can yoga assist my writing?
6. What other benefits may I experience from a workshop? General ease in the body and mind, self-awareness, along with renewed energy. Community and support of a group of writers: feedback, sharing of the writing process and techniques, learning more about the writing craft.
7. How has a regular yoga practice helped Mary and I with our writing? Mary: Writers are sensitive artists who constantly draw on their wellsprings of inspiration, the stream of their creative flow. However, the publishing world can be a ruthless, competitive, turbulent, and ever-changing place, especially as the book industry grapples with Covid and economic uncertainty. Many writers of my acquaintance have struggled with depression and burn out. This is why I’m so grateful for my Yoga and spiritual practice. Yoga helps release emotional and physical stress and contraction. It draws me out of the headspace of clamoring negative thoughts and puts me back in touch with the deep source of creativity within, that exists in all of us, no matter what transpires in the outer world. My practice is my refuge.
Stephanie: After freelance writing, publishing short fiction, and years of work on my first novel, going through all the hurdles to get the book ready to pursue publication I can say that my hips are open — I can Samba dance easily! My lower back is pain-free, along with my shoulders and neck. I don’t feel burned out, but ready for the next phases of midwifing the manuscript into the world. Writing doesn't have to be a pain-inducing pursuit, but one of comfort and well-being when supported by a regular yoga practice. A yogic practice that grounds you in sound and wise body-mind and spirit movement and truths and is actually a well-being toolbox for writers.
8. Are there any scholarships available? Yes, there are a few scholarships available for those in need. Please email Stephanie for an assistance application: firstname.lastname@example.org
Early Bird Gift! The first 5 registrants receive an ebook of Mary's latest release "Revelations"! + mp3 guided meditation "Saraswati Yoga Nidra"! Until May 1, 2021
Regular price: $129
Write and practice Goddess yoga while exploring the wisdom of Goddess Saraswati of creativity to liberate and empower your creative voice and embody the muse within you to write women's stories. Join bestselling women's historical fiction author Mary Sharratt whose on a mission "To write women back into history" and Goddess Yoga guide Stephanie dos Santos to liberate and empower the voices of women around the world. Jai Ma!